Sunday, January 15, 2006

The God Of Small Things

People often cling to a storybook when it succeeds in sustaining an interest. An interest in knowing the outcome when all the little mysteries in the story plot gets subtly revealed and all the loose ends are tidied up in dramatic manner.

Would a story be accepted if it spells its denouement right in the beginning of it? Would readers be eager to recommend a book if it pronounces shades of its characters and their relationship within first few pages? How would global readers accept if a backdrop of such a story were completely alien to them?

‘The God of Small things’ written by Arundhati Roy shattered all these traditional concepts of writing a novel and yet went onto win a booker prize. This book was with me almost for 6 years. My earlier two attempts to read this book turned futile when I was taken aback by confusing and complicated Kerala names of various characters and places. This chaos was further aggravated with a need to resort to a dictionary far too soon that broke the flow and momentum of reading. Somehow, I broke the jinx this time and completed the book effortlessly.

Arundhati Roy could break all establish norms of writing novels by her sheer passion of the subject and her talent of narrating a story from child’s imaginative fertile curious brain and charming use of delectable words. How did she manage to that? She was not an accomplished writer when this book was being written. This is her first novel. I guess. the secret lies in her being a scriptwriter for movies and to some extent looking at her own childhood impressions. Arundhati Roy has admitted that her growing up by her mother in informal manner without traditional textbook teaching. It seems this has developed sense of freedom from any intellectual constrain. She writes "from within"; and follows her inner voice, rather than having a set of restrictive rules ingrained in her. She comments, "When I write, I never re-write a sentence because for me my thought and my writing are one thing. It is like breathing, I do not re-breathe a breath... Everything I have - my intellect, my experience, my feelings have been used. If someone does not like it, it is like saying they do not like my gall bladder. I can't do anything about it."

Her description of the story does not leave anything for reader to mental portrayal. She does it to the perfection with minutest detail, from sweat drops on a person’s forehead to biological nomenclature of a plant that make beautiful garden in Kerala home. The result is a wonderful mosaic pattern of childhood crazy thinking, emotions of elation and trauma seamlessly woven by incidents of past and future that swings like pendulum from page to page. The impact of this book hard-hitting that you tend to go back to very beginning to read it all over again!!
I have seen some of the reviews written by mouthshut reviewers condemning this novel. I would be happy if they go through this book when their state of mind is ripe enough to assimilate this amazing creation. This book has increased my interest in Rohinton Mistry and Salman Rushdie. Most reviewers on used the creative writings of these two individuals as benchmark to assess Arundhati Roy’s : The God of Small Things.
It would be interesting if anyone could attempt to make a theater drama based on her script, making a movie perhaps be a bit difficult.


Anonymous abhishek said...

Milind it was good review.As views change from person to person, I respect your views about this book.

I have read this book and found it too boring.Reason for this was the confusing storyline and many charaters with typical south Indian names.After I completed half of the book it began to seem a bit interesting..But after completing the book I did not find it too appealing.May be because I am person who is much interested in thriller and fast moving novels.

This book is good for the people who like literature and read book for langauge.

Waiting for more reviews from you.


8:33 PM  
Anonymous keatsmadeline said...


You know so many friends of mind complained of not keepin gin pace with the book. More so they even could not proceed further from page 1 or 2.

But I have gone thru the book so many times, everytime when I go thru it, I find it amazing. The language of a crazy world (by you) is simply awesome.

Keep up good work.

Su (:)

8:36 PM  
Anonymous nithi_s said...

That was an excellent review.

I agree with you on every point.

8:36 PM  

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